As Kanye's new track was blaring in my headphones, I began to reflect on the single most important thread between real friends. Friendships can be great for multiple reasons. Friends share several commonalities, interests, passions, etc. Friends can travel together. They can call each other when they are bored. They can text each other. They can keep each others' secrets. They can provide companionship and fun. Friendship is a gift from God. To call someone a friend is no casual thing. Acquaintances are not friends. Being friendly is not grounds for friendship, just as being happy is not grounds for joy.
To have a friend is to be rich. It is to be wealthy beyond measure. A person can be counted as lucky to find 4 or 5 in a lifetime.
But can friendship really be so elusive you ask? I mean don't you all have over 1,000 friends on Facebook? Don't you keep in touch with so many people? When you have a birthday party, won't at least 20 people show up? Our culture has reduced friendship into a word that requires the bare minimum. If we see each other 4 times a year, if we text twice a month, and if we love to catch up on each others' lives, we are friends. If you are charming enough or have a simple hobby, you can find one of these. While I am not belittling these efforts, I would hardly count this as friendship. While all these things are generally good, they do not measure up to what friendship is actually worth.
The single most important value in a friend, is someone who cares and loves beyond comfort and convenience. Another way of saying this, is someone who challenges you to live to your greatest potential; someone who is willing to sacrifice how they make you feel by pushing you; someone who is offended when you are living below your destiny; someone who lights a fire in your belly; someone who sees you in light of who God made you to be.
Imagine if you were friends with Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Mozart, Einstein, the apostle Paul, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Beethoven, Bach, or the list goes on. Now imagine if each of them worked at Walmart or Burger King (No offense to any of you that work there - just making a point). Imagine if you as their friend witnessed their greatness, but did not care to push them towards their calling. Imagine if years went by, and they continued to work at the local burger joint. Imagine if Michael Jordan kept working at a gas station in North Carolina. Imagine if Einstein listened to his teachers who said he would amount to nothing, and had friends who encouraged him to work at a bank that would give him a stable income.
What kind of friend are you? In America, I have noticed that good friends are considered people who are there to listen to you. Good friends tell you to make that big purchase or "be good to yourself." Good friends take your side. Good friends even throw parties for you. Good friends let you vent to them.
Is that really what friendship is? We are to love our friends. What better way to love your friend than to make it a part of your destiny, for them to reach theirs. Why would you be a star if you cannot hang out with friends that can make a constellation? Why would you press so hard, if your journey cannot set a fire in those around you? Today, if I told most of my friends that I quit music, they would probably let me do it. They would probably figure I know what is best, and continue to walk their merry way. They would dare not be offended or say anything to offend me. They would not lose sleep over it. They may pray and give me their well wishes. But I'm not sure it would bother them. I don't think most friends are capable of this. Take a deep breath.... Be honest..... Think about it.
Will we be a people that get pissed off when those around us are not living correctly? This does not give a license to presume or judge. But it gives us a license to feel and be moved. It gives us a license to challenge in LOVE. It gives us the opportunity to be all in - for ourselves, and our friends. I know what you are thinking: "How can we challenge those we love, when we ourselves have no clue how to assess what is right for us?" What I am suggesting has little to do with accuracy. It has nothing to do with what you must know for your friends, or your wisdom and discernment. This has to do with giving a damn. This has to do with loving beyond measure, and being a force to be dealt with. Are you a force, or are you a blob? Do people need to hold themselves accountable to you, or do you just go with the flow? When you are with your friends, can they count on you to sharpen them and not let you get away with mediocrity, or will you cradle them in their infantile state?
I want to be a friend that takes you as seriously as I take myself. I want to be a friend that gets disappointed when you are disappointed. I want to be a friend that prays for you with all my guts. I want to be a friend that treats my resources as your resources. I want my friends to be greater than me. I want you all to know God like me, and for me to want to know God like you. I want us all to win. I want us to teach each other, and not let our dreams dash to the floor. I don't need a friend that knows what is right, or has the best things to say. I need a friend that gets offended when I am living under 100%. I want a friend that does not focus on being friendly.
This post is dedicated to everyone that used to complain that I was never that friendly. You are right. I would rather be deadly. - Jeevo